Growing New Milford Bakery Has Locals Hooked On Baklava

For Aleria Bakery, it's all about the baklava.

Aleria Bakery recently opened in New Milford.

Aleria Bakery recently opened in New Milford.

Photo Credit: Aleria Bakery

The popular Cliffside Park bakery and cafe, which opened in 2021, recently celebrated the grand opening of its new location in New Milford at 160 Henley Ave. on Monday, Jan. 15. The opening is a homecoming for Kehetrin Alper, a New Milford resident and one of the co-owners of the restaurant, with her business partner, Sema Gozukucuk.

The idea for the second location came when the owner of Crespo Hookah Grill in New Milford tried some of her baklava.

"He never had baklava," the owner said. "He said 'this is amazing. What is this?'

Alpar met with him and soon, Aleria Bakery had its new location, sharing the kitchen, and outdoor and indoor seating area with Crespo. The baklava has become one of the biggest attractions.

"It leads people through the door," Alpar said. "People have said our breakfast is one of the best breakfasts they have, because it's so fresh and healthy"

Aleria Bakery initially opened in 2021, after Alpar and Gozukucuk were working in a Mediterranean restaurant. Discovering they worked well together, they decided to look for their own place, even though restaurants were struggling during the pandemic.

"Everyone told us this is not the right time," Alpar said. "Everything is closing and you're opening. But we just found the place and it felt right. It had a warmth and atmosphere and it felt like home. We did not want to miss out on this."

Everything at Aleria is made on-site, including the bread, tarts, cookies and the popular breakfast plate, which features feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomato, cucumber, green olives, black olives, honey, cream, butter, jam, boiled egg, walnuts and menemen, which is tomatoes cooked with green and red pepper mixed scrambled egg with salt and black pepper.

Alpar said Mediterranean/Turkish cuisine has become popular because it offers a little bit of everything.

"It's a little more unique," Alpar said. "It's healthier than other cuisines."

Running a business in the place she calls home has been a really nice experience for Alpar. More than 400 people showed up for the grand opening last week. 

"That was heartwarming," Alpar said. "It made all those sleepless nights worth it. It's great seeing friends from high school pop in."

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